Detectives’ regret in murder case

DETECTIVES in charge of one of New Zealand’s most high-profile murder cases have revealed a nagging regret on the 20th anniversary of the chilling event.

It was the early hours of New Year’s Day 1998 when Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, were last seen boarding a 26-foot yacht, Blade, in the Marlborough Sounds, after partying at Furneaux Lodge with friends.

As the party wound down in the small hours of New Year’s Day, there was no room for the friends to sleep on the Tamarack, a yacht chartered by Olivia and her sister Amelia.

Other “freeloaders” had taken their bunks, so Ben and Olivia were anxious to get back to shore and find somewhere else to sleep, the New Zealand Herald reports in a special feature to mark the 20th anniversary of that night.

They hopped on board the water taxi driven by Guy Wallace, who had arrived at the Tamarack to drop off Amelia Hope and a friend, Rick Goddard. After they set off, a single, mystery man on a Naiad inflatable offered Hope and Smart…

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